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Bonds of CitizenshipLaw and the Labors of Emancipation$
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Hoang Gia Phan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814738474

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814738474.001.0001

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“If Man Will Strike”

“If Man Will Strike”

Moby-Dick and the Letter of the Law

(p.172) 5 “If Man Will Strike”
Bonds of Citizenship

Hoang Gia Phan

NYU Press

This chapter discusses Herman Melville's Moby-Dick as a symbolic mediation of the transformations in the “split subject” of citizenship—the result of antebellum market revolution. It also contextualizes the novel in relation to the labor struggles such as “criminal conspiracy” labor cases, labor strikes, and transformations of contract law during the revolution. In particular, Ahab represents the romantic figure of resistance to the market and the rule of law while the hunt for Moby-Dick depicts the battle against the expansion of the rule of law—an expansion which Melville figure as the colonization of individual and collective freedoms by the nation-state.

Keywords:   Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, transformations, market revolution, Ahab, nation-state

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